Thursday, April 17, 2014

[Review] Dom Hemingway

Jude Law has put on the pudge, he's got a grill of stained teeth & gold replacements, and he's very hairy as the title character in Dom Hemingway, a raunchy yet sentimental comedy about a British gangster and his wild days after being released from prison.

The story opens with Dom clutching jail bars and spouting a riveting monologue about his cock, while receiving "service" down under. And that pretty much sums him up. He's belchy, crude, egotistical, and like a geyser--about to erupt at any minute. "I'm Dom Hemingway!" he yells a number of times throughout the film.

After being locked up for 12 years, Dom is finally granted release, and he's ready to let loose (even more than he has been). The plot entails Dom attempting to make up for lost time, whether that means partying, taking revenge on people that did him wrong, collecting his reward payment for not snitching, or trying to reunite with his daughter, Evelyn (Emilia Clarke, best known as the Mother of Dragons from HBO's "Game of Thrones").

Writer/Director Richard Shepard's film definitely has a Guy Richiness to it. And it's hyper-stylized, packed with bold colors, and juiced with a loud soundtrack of melodramatic musical cues. A highlight is an operatic, slow-motion car crash scene where the characters float through the air, making hilarious faces.

Dom Hemingway is a messy tale of two halves. The first section is a raucous and abrasive jolt, essentially Dom picking up right where he left off. The second half settles down, bringing in a redemption story that sets up some tender moments. It doesn't quite all mesh successfully, even though the film is decidedly sporadic. Certain scenes work way better than others, and it ends up feeling tonally bloated, yet filled with threads that aren't fully developed.

Much like its main character, Dom Hemingway is audacious, obnoxious, and wildly uneven, but it's almost always amusing.


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